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The Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators both have a chance to move on to round two of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Penguins have a 3-1 lead over Philadelphia heading into Game 5 while the Predators have the same lead over the Colorado Avalanche. The Penguins are 8-5 in series-clinching games under head coach Mike Sullivan, a surge that’s allowed them to become the first team in nearly 20 years to win consecutive Stanley Cups.
Tomas Hertl scored the tiebreaking goal 9:09 into the third period, Martin Jones was spectacular in goal yet again, and the San Jose Sharks completed a first-round sweep of the rival Anaheim Ducks with a 2-1 victory in Game 4. Hertl scored just 1:16 after the Ducks finally got a puck past Jones when he deflected a point shot from Marc-Edouard Vlasic past John Gibson. San Jose then held on to advance to the second round against the expansion Vegas Golden Knights.
Filip Forsberg scored another creative goal, Pekka Rinne rebounded from a rocky performance with 31 saves, and the Nashville Predators withstood a furious rally by the Colorado Avalanche for a 3-2 win in Game 4 to take a 3-1 lead in the first-round series. Colton Sissons and Craig Smith also had goals for the hard-hitting Predators, who can close out the series Friday when it shifts back to Nashville for Game 5.
Nikita Kucherov scored two goals, set up another and knocked New Jersey’s top defenseman out of the game with a big hit, and the Tampa Bay Lightning moved within a game of advancing past the Devils with a 3-1 victory. J.T. Miller also scored and had two assists, and Vezina Trophy finalist Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped three breakaways in making 27 saves.
Sidney Crosby scored his fifth goal of the series and became the Pittsburgh Penguins’ career postseason points leader in a 5-0 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. The Penguins lead the first-round playoff series 3-1 as its shifts to Pittsburgh for Game 5.
Winnipeg Jets defenseman Josh Morrissey was suspended for one game by the NHL for cross-checking Minnesota Wild forward Eric Staal. The cross-check to Staal’s neck happened in the first period of Winnipeg’s 2-0 victory Tuesday night.
The Columbus Blue Jackets and Washington Capitals say they are not bothered by opening their playoff series with three straight overtime games. On Tuesday night, the Capitals won in double-overtime in Columbus. That followed two extra-time games in Washington that the Blue Jackets won. Both teams say they have plenty in the tank for Game 4 on Thursday night.
Nick Foligno and Marcus Foligno are in the playoffs at the same time for the first time in seven seasons together in the NHL. Older brother Nick and the Columbus Blue Jackets are leading the Washington Capitals 2-1 in their first-round series. Marcus and the Minnesota Wild trail Winnipeg 3-1, but he has contributed a goal from the fourth line. Their father and two sisters have been proudly watching, with the memory of their late mother always on their minds.
Some of the top picks in recent NHL drafts are handling the playoff pressure just fine. Auston Matthews, Patrick Laine, Pierre-Luc Dubois and 2017 top picks Nico Hischier and Nolan Patrick all look unfazed as they handle significant responsibilities in the postseason. All are in top-six forward roles and have combined for five goals and six assists.
Brayden McNabb scored against his former team in the second period, lifting Vegas to a 1-0 victory over the Los Angeles Kings that made the Golden Knights the first expansion team in NHL history to sweep its first playoff series. Marc-Andre Fleury turned in another stellar performance, stopping 31 shots for Vegas.
Lars Eller scored in the second OT period to give Washington a 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets in Game 3, pulling the Capitals to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series. Artemi Panarin tied the game for Columbus in the third period, forcing overtime. Tom Wilson and John Carlson also scored for the Capitals, and Braden Holtby stopped 33 shots.
Mark Scheifele scored both goals for Winnipeg, Connor Hellebuyck made 30 saves for his seventh shutout this season, and the Jets beat the Minnesota Wild 2-0. They took a 3-1 lead in the first-round playoff series. Scheifele scored with 28 seconds left in the first period and tacked on an empty-netter with 11 seconds remaining, pushing the Wild to the brink of elimination. Devan Dubnyk stopped 26 shots for the Wild, who played without star left wing Zach Parise because of a broken sternum.
Predators defenseman P.K. Subban says the chippy nature of the series between Colorado and Nashville can be attributed to the atmosphere associated with the playoffs. It’s turning a little testier with the Predators holding on to a 2-1 lead heading into Game 4. The home team has won each game in this series.
Claude Giroux carried the Philadelphia Flyers into the playoffs. The Hart Trophy candidate might be the reason they get knocked out in the first round if he can’t become the force the Flyers need to have a chance against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Flyers captain has no goals and one assist in three games. The Penguins hold a 2-1 series lead headed into Game 4 on Wednesday in Philly.
Cory Schneider is no longer the forgotten man on the New Jersey Devils. It’s amazing what a good game in the playoffs can do for a veteran goaltender relegated to a backup role over the past month because Keith Kinkaid had been playing so well in leading the Devils to their first playoff berth since 2012.
Minnesota Wild left wing Zach Parise has a broken sternum that will keep him out for multiple weeks. The injury occurred late in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series against Winnipeg. The Wild revealed the injury about three hours before Game 4 against the Jets. General manager Chuck Fletcher said Parise’s status is “week to week.” Parise scored in each of the first three games of the series. He is the Wild’s all-time leader with 14 goals in the playoffs.
Auston Matthews got the go-ahead goal in the second period, Patrick Marleau scored twice, and the host Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Boston Bruins 4-2 on Monday night in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference first-round series.
Matt Calvert scored 12:22 into overtime, Sergei Bobrovsky made 54 saves and the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets overcame two goals from Alex Ovechkin beat the Washington Capitals 5-4 on Sunday night to take a 2-0 lead in the first-round playoff series.
The San Jose Sharks excelled on the road again, beating the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 to take a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series. Logan Couture had a goal and an assist, and Martin Jones made 28 saves. Hampus Lindholm had a goal and an assist for the Ducks, who are leaving Honda Center with an 0-2 series deficit for the third time in their last five playoff series.
David Pastrnak had a hat trick and three assists to help Boston blow out the Toronto Maple Leafs for the second straight game. The Bruins won 7-3 to take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference playoff series.